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Vertebrae are stacked in a
Vertebral column: which runs the length of the back.
The vertebra are named by
region, then number, from superior to inferior.
The most superior seven vertebrae called
Clervical (neck). The region is designated by a letter "C" and number, C1-C7
What comes after the cervical region?
12 Thoracic (chest) vertebrae. Each of them have a matching rib; there are 12 matching ribs. T1-T12
The last 5 with joints between them
Lumbar (loin) vertebrae, L1-L5.
L5 usually forms a joint with the
first sacral (holy) vertebrae (S1). In most people, there are five fused sacral vertebrae. That is, S1 through S5 are joined in an immobile, locked state.
Several small coccygeal vertebrae fuse to form the
coccyx (tailbone), the end of the vertebral.
The largest part of the vertebra is the
A joint between two adjacent bodies is filled with a disk of fibrocartilage that has a soft center, like a jelly donut. This is called the
Two _________ ________ extend laterally; a ______ connects each of these to the body.
transverse processes; pedicle
Along the midline, there is a _______ _______ which protrudes posteriorly. This is joined to the transverse processes by _______.
spinous process; laminae
Taken together, the medial surfaces of the body, processes, pedicles and laminae form a large hole called the ______ _______ that allows passage of the spinal cord.
The first cervical (C1) and second cervical (C2) vertebrae are highly specialized. These need to allow for 80 degree rotation while
supporting the weight of the head.
Atlas = C1
The joint between the occipital bone of skull and the atlas is called the atlanto-occipital joint. This joint allows us to nod.
-No body, minimal spinous process
Axis = C2
- small body
- body contains tooth-like "peg" (dens) which projects superiorly into vertebral foramen of atlas
- not shown: transverse ligament of C1 which holds dens in place but allows for rotation
Cervical vertebrae 3-7 are more
One unique feature of cervical vertebrae is that the posteriorly-projecting spinous process (the one on the midline) is
bifid - (two-pronged) spinous process. It has a "forked tongue".
C7 is called
Vertebra prominens; because it can easily be palpated (felt with your fingers) along the back of your neck.
Ribs articulate at two points
Transverse process of vertbra ----> tubercle of rib
Body of vertebrae ----> head of rib
Inferior articular fact of more superior vertebra forms
moveable joint with superior articular facet of more inferior vertebra
Lumbar vertebrae designed to carry a
large amount of weight.
-Therefore have thick, strong body.
In conventional lateral spine x-rays, lumbar vertebrae resemble a
Sacrum is made up of
5 fused vertebrae (S1-S5)
Coccyx is made up of
3-4 fused vertebrae (number varies)
Transitional vertebrae are a relatively common anatomical variation
- In 10% of humans, there is an internertebral disk & joint between S1-S2 (lumbarization of S1)
- In 14% of humans, there is a fusion of L5 and S1 (sacralization of L5)
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